I wrote a blog a few weeks ago about how I wanted to be a full-time blogger. Posting that was kind of the metaphorical fire under my butt that I needed to get serious about growing my online presence. I've done a lot of reading since then about how to achieve blog growth and how to earn income from your blog. Some of it has been helpful, some of it has not, and most of it has been confusing and overwhelming. There's a lot of work that goes into pimping yourself out!
ON FINDING MY NICHE
Time and again, I've read successful bloggers state that new bloggers need to decide on their niche. Are you going to be a food blogger? A fashion blogger? A financial blogger? This will help direct and guide your posting and will allow potential followers to more easily determine whether they like what you're selling.
But here's the thing- I don't have a niche. I've even pushed myself to try and commit to one, but there's not one thing that I love enough to solely blog about. I love my life. I want to blog about motherhood. I want to blog about cooking and recipes. I want to blog about feminism and social justice. I want to blog about my marriage and decorating my home. I don't fit neatly into one category, and though it could be hampering my success, I really don't want to. I'm not a mirror, I'm a prism. (Was that a dumb metaphor? Whatever, I'm tired. Moving on...)
I have gotten somewhat better about my graphics. I still think a DSLR would be helpful in this arena, but I know it's not the end all, be all. The thing I still don't get is- am I supposed to be making eleven million different graphics for each post? Horizontal photos look better in posts. Vertical photos look better in Pinterest. Square photos look better in Instagram. Gah! Why can't I use the same graphic across all platforms?!
Nearly every "how to grow your blog"-type article I've read stresses the impact having a newsletter/email list can have on your traffic. But since I don't have a niche or a product to sell, I'm not sure whether this applies to me. Logically, I can see how sending blog-related content directly to people's inboxes can be effective. However, how would I incentivize signing up for emails? What do I have to offer subscribers that they're not already getting from my blog? It's something I've been thinking a lot about and I don't yet have an answer.
TRACKING STATS AND GROWTH
It would be very easy for me to become discouraged by the rate of growth (or lack thereof). It's not that I expect to become an overnight blogging sensation, but I wish there was more return on investment, so to speak. That being said, if nothing else, I did one really smart thing. I created a spreadsheet on Google Docs and each week, I update it with my pageviews, sessions, etc. from Google Analytics as well as number of followers on my social media platforms. It keeps me from getting discouraged when I can track week-by-week that I am actually growing. Since I started tracking it about a month ago, my pageviews have increased significantly and I have 60+ new Instagram followers. Slow but steady wins the race, right?
This is the other thing I keep hearing about- make money with affiliate links! Okay, but I didn't start blogging to become a used car salesman. I want to write authentically about my life. How do I incorporate affiliate links into my blog in a natural and organic way? I don't want to sell my writer soul to make a quick buck (however useful that buck would be right about now).
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If you've been blogging for awhile, have you grappled with these same things?